April 17, 2013
The Anglican Commentary strives to highlight expressions of Anglicanism in different cultures. This usually means in other countries. For this article, though, I want to look at a culture that lives alongside the rest of us, but at times may feel foreign: youth culture. I have tried to keep up with youth culture; I have read everything that Doug Fields has written, and (confession time) I have read Twilight. And I have come to the conclusion that, as the Anglican Commentary often attests, the best way to understand another culture is to experience it. So I was very excited that VTS was going to host a Rock Concert, and that the aim of this Rock Concert was for VTS to reach out to and welcome youth.
One group that I had the honor to meet was a couple of youth from the Diocese of Easton (Maryland). You couldn’t miss this group: they were wearing the brightest orange shirts that I had ever seen, but more than that, they looked like they were having FUN. They had a large group, but I only met a few of them while they were getting autographs from the band “Five Iron Frenzy.”
They had just come from winning the Quiddich Tournament, and they were on cloud nine. Right before they were announced as the tournament winners, Dr. Patricia Lyons explained that (spoiler alert) at the end of the Harry Potter story, the Resurrection Stone was in the snitch, which reminds us that, as Christians, we seek the resurrection, not an empty snitch. So, on one level the group from Easton were chasing the snitch during the tournament, but on another level, they were looking for the resurrection in our world. What a powerful witness to the rest of us.
When the youth met with the members of “Five Iron Frenzy,” their excitement grew. The band members took the time to chat with each of them, asking them questions about themselves, and listening to their responses. Even though the band members were the famous ones in the room, it was clear to me that they hoped to “seek and serve Christ in all persons.” And they took it in good stride when one girl from Easton casually mentioned that she “would rather see One Direction.
But the memory that may stay with me the longest is watching this group of bright orange wearing youth dancing in front of the stage where other high school aged youth were singing their Christian Rock songs. The youth had so much fun at the tournament, and were deeply cared for by the adult band members they met, but there is an undeniable power in hearing someone share their experience of God, especially when that person seems completely relatable. And the youth bands that played were excellent! They were able to capture emotions and stories in their music that even the best preachers would stand in awe. And they made their message so enjoyable and so inviting that the other youth there could only respond by dancing.
It is a good thing that VTS offered this Rock Concert for the younger generation. They experienced joy and care, and heard from their peers about the love available from God. They had a great time at a church event (at a church event!). It is also a good thing that VTS offered the Rock Concert for us — through being a part of this day, we, too, got to look for the resurrection in our world, be reminded to “seek and serve all persons as Christ,” and learn from the youth about what God is doing in their lives, not as people observing another culture, but as fellow children of God, blessedly on this journey together.
The Rev. Martha Korienek, MA 2014
Diocese of Los Angeles